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It would also never, EVER, sell. Ever!

 

There is a reason that there are always less Decepticon toys than Autobots, because they don't sell as well. And as badly as this proposed series would sell here, it would sell 100 times worse in Japan! There is a reason that there were little to no Decepticon toys in the last few years of G1 over there. Decepticon, and bad guy figures in general, sell horribly in Japan. I believe it's a cultural thing; no one wants to imagine themselves as being the bad guy, and why would they? By and large the bad guys are just evil douch-nozzles that have no honour. And the concept of honour is still very big in Japan.

 

Keep in mind that despite Takara's decision to make late G1 predominantly Autobot, it didn't work to save the Transformers franchise. Transformers still ended up dying on its arse over there. One big problem is that there's often bugger all character development for antagonists in Transformers, especially in the cartoons. And usually the villains in cartoons - especially in Transformers G1 cartoon - are portrayed as being inept and incompetent ("Decepticons, retreeeeaaaat!!") so that the heroes can look awesome. They're not really awesome because they beat a powerful foe... they just had really CRAP foes! As Stan Lee once said, a hero is only as good as his enemy. The enemy HAS to be better than the hero in order to make the audience root for that hero, and when the hero finally does beat the tar out of the villain, then the audience cheers because it was a big accomplishment.

 

This is another reason why I prefer the G1 comics, because often villains were given better characterisation in it compared to the cartoon. Take Galvatron for instance -- pure win. He constantly beat the crap out of EVERYONE... across time and space! So every time he was finally defeated, it was a huge accomplishment... with severe casualties... whenever Galvatron appeared, 'bots (Autobots and Decepticons) started dying! The G1 cartoon on a rare occasion gave us interesting villains - like Octane (who was portrayed as Thundercracker should have been!), Overlord and arguably Deathzaras (the final battle between Star Sabre and Deathzaras is widely considered to be the second most epic animated fight in G1 animation, after Optimus Prime vs Megatron in TF:TM).

 

Villains would sell better if they were better written. Also, Japan doesn't always sell more baddies than goodies. During Beast Wars it started off being nearly 50:50. Almost every toy was available either individually or in versus sets. e.g.

+ Optimus Primal vs Megatron (all size classes)

+ Cheetor vs Waspinator

+ Rattrap vs Terrorsaur

+ Dinobot vs Tarantulas

+ Armordillo vs Snapper

+ Rhinox vs Shadow Panther <---Takara even created a new Predacon here to even the odds!

+ Polar Claw vs Scorponok

+ Lio Convoy vs Galvatron

+ Apache vs Megastorm

+ Big Mos vs Autostinger

+ Tasmania Kid vs Dirge

+ Mach Kick vs Archadys

+ Sharp Edge vs Hardhead

+ Stampy vs Sling

...etc etc.

 

Machine Wars was also completely even too (although that line was never sold in Japan).

Also, if you make a kick-arse toy, even if it's a villain with bugger all character development or story exposure, people will buy it. Having a great story but lacklustre toys doesn't work for Transformers -- look at late G1. Some of the best stories ever told in G1 came toward the end (e.g. Matrix Quest), yet G1 toy sales still continued to dwindle and the comics were eventually cancelled as a result. Having lousy stories doesn't help... ideally you'd like to have great toys and great stories, but I think having great toys comes first. Robots In Disguise is a good example of this. The story in the cartoon is... okay. I mean, it's clearly aimed at a very young audience, and in that regard, it's fine. But it certainly doesn't hold much appeal above its target audience -- yet the toys FLEW off shelves and were highly popular, even with collectors. Here the toys came out months before the cartoon aired, but toys were quickly flying off shelves. The reason has to be because people liked the toys.

 

Even the first year of G1 sold _really_ well with relatively little fiction to support it (remember - the toys came first, then the comics, then the cartoon). Yet by the end of 1984 Transformers had grossed over US$1.4 million (which is a LOT of money in 1984!) - making it the highest grossing debut toyline. I don't know if this record has since been beaten, but the fact that it even achieved that record is impressive.

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Keep in mind that despite Takara's decision to make late G1 predominantly Autobot, it didn't work to save the Transformers franchise. Transformers still ended up dying on its arse over there.

The decision wasn't made to "save the franchise", it was made because bad guy toys don't sell in Japan, so why bother making any?

 

One big problem is that there's often bugger all character development for antagonists in Transformers, especially in the cartoons. And usually the villains in cartoons - especially in Transformers G1 cartoon - are portrayed as being inept and incompetent ("Decepticons, retreeeeaaaat!!") so that the heroes can look awesome. They're not really awesome because they beat a powerful foe... they just had really CRAP foes! As Stan Lee once said, a hero is only as good as his enemy. The enemy HAS to be better than the hero in order to make the audience root for that hero, and when the hero finally does beat the tar out of the villain, then the audience cheers because it was a big accomplishment.

Good writing only really matters to the adult fans, kids don't really give a crap. After all, the G1 show was successful despite some very shlock-y writing. And take a good look at some of the crap kids watch now, it's horrible!

 

Even the first year of G1 sold _really_ well with relatively little fiction to support it (remember - the toys came first, then the comics, then the cartoon). Yet by the end of 1984 Transformers had grossed over US$1.4 million (which is a LOT of money in 1984!) - making it the highest grossing debut toyline. I don't know if this record has since been beaten, but the fact that it even achieved that record is impressive.

G1 sold well because, other than the Go-Bots (who came first) there had never been anything like them before. They had the priveledge of being new and unique. The same can't be said now.

Edited by Shockwave 75

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The decision wasn't made to "save the franchise", it was made because bad guy toys don't sell in Japan, so why bother making any?

Umm... that's fundamentally the same thing. They stopped making baddies in Japan in 1990 in hopes that the higher proportion of goodies would generate more sales - and this in turn would have saved the franchise. Whether it was a conscious decision to save the franchise or not, the result would have been the same. In the end, it failed to generate sufficient sales, which in turn failed to "save" the franchise.

Good writing only really matters to the adult fans, kids don't really give a crap. After all, the G1 show was successful despite some very shlock-y writing. And take a good look at some of the crap kids watch now, it's horrible!

Not all kids are like that. When I was a kid, good writing absolutely mattered to me. That's why I always preferred the G1 comics over the cartoon. Even as little kids my friends and I used to nitpick inconsistencies in the G1 cartoon and laugh at some of its campier elements. We nitpicked the comics too, but it held up better against our scrutiny compared to the cartoon.

 

Good writing for Transformers is something that works on two levels - appeals to kids and adults. That's what made the G1 comics a lot more endearing to many fans compared to the G1 cartoon. Same with Beast Wars - I remember in a magazine interview around the time the first season was about to come out, the show's producer said that they'd realised that by the mid 1990s there were two different generations of TF fans - current day children and the children of the 80s who were now (then) young adults. So they intentionally wrote the story to appeal to both audiences.

 

Beast Machines on the other hand had a very adult-oriented story that pretty much ignored having appeal to kids. A dark, brooding and highly philosophical storyline with not very interesting action and rare humorous or light-hearted elements (oh look, Silverbolt's all emo now... how happy); and the show proved highly unpopular with children and adult fans alike.

 

G1 sold well because, other than the Go-Bots (who came first) there had never been anything like them before. They had the priveledge of being new and unique. The same can't be said now.

And the toys were really well engineered for its time. This is why they beat out Gobots despite the fact that Gobots came first and Gobots were cheaper. But also look at Robots In Disguise -- those toys came out here long before the cartoon ever aired, and the toys were flying off the shelves just off their own merit as awesome toys. Even when the cartoon did air the toys continued to sell well. And let's face it, RiD ain't the greatest story ever written (it's good for its intended very young target audience, but not much beyond that).

 

Beast Machines had a pretty well written story (it ties in poorly with Transformers lore, but its core writing is pretty good), and those toys shelf and peg warmed BADLY. While having a good story really helps, ultimately a good toy will sell itself.

 

P.S.: I love your sig comment about sealed collecting :thumb

Edited by Goktimus Prime

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G1 sold well because, other than the Go-Bots (who came first) there had never been anything like them before. They had the priveledge of being new and unique. The same can't be said now.

And the toys were really well engineered for its time. This is why they beat out Gobots despite the fact that Gobots came first and Gobots were cheaper. But also look at Robots In Disguise -- those toys came out here long before the cartoon ever aired, and the toys were flying off the shelves just off their own merit as awesome toys. Even when the cartoon did air the toys continued to sell well. And let's face it, RiD ain't the greatest story ever written (it's good for its intended very young target audience, but not much beyond that).

True. They also had nostalgia on their side by being the first real vehicle TF's in about a decade.

 

P.S.: I love your sig comment about sealed collecting :thumb

Thanks!

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True. They also had nostalgia on their side by being the first real vehicle TF's in about a decade.

Yeah, but especially after the bad taste that Beast Machines left in people's mouthes, I think RiD was a welcome relief. Beast Wars and Machine Wars did give us some realistic vehicular modes (e.g. dump truck, fighter jet, Abrams tank, F22 Raptor, F1 racer, tow truck etc.), but they were all either repainted G2 moulds, or abandoned G2 designs that were resurrected in MW (the basics). Car Robot was the first time since 1995 (so half a decade really) since we had entirely new licensed vehicle TFs purpose made for TFs. Of course, the Spychangers were repainted G2 Gobots and except for Megatron, the Predacons/Combaticons were all repainted G2 and BW moulds... but still, it was undeniably a welcome change. And they also gave us the first vehicular gestalts with fully self-contained gestalt components (Magnaboss and Tripredacus were the first TF gestalts to have fully self-contained parts, but JRX & Build King were the first to do so with vehicles). It hadn't been since 1989's Lio Kaiser that we'd seen a vehicular gestalt with self-contained parts, and even then, Lio Kaiser wasn't completely self contained (because the head is detachable) - and of course, Team Bullet Train and the Build Team 'bots featured way cooler engineering compared to the outdated Breast Force dudes (who were spectacularly well-designed for their day though).

 

The other thing that I felt was cool was that they were going back to the 'robots in disguise' core concept of Transformers, which has always been the most popular concept with fans. When you look at when people who stopped playing with or collecting Transformers, it's often around the time when Transformers strays away from the robots in disguise idea. For example, from 1986 Transformers started introducing more "futuristic" or "Cybertronian" alt modes. This proliferated the line in 1987 and continued, and this was when we started losing a lot of people (as evidenced by the fact that the US G1 cartoon was cancelled in 1987 due to dwindling toy sales). 1988 got even weirder with Pretenders transforming into "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT MEANT TO BE?!?" alt modes. :P I don't know how many times you can create different alt modes by folding up skinny robots. ;)

 

Beast Wars of course revived the Transformers franchise by giving us a whole new concept for Transformers, but still keeping within the robots in disguise concept. Actually, in Japan Transmetals and Fuzors proved to be rather unpopular -- a lot of Japanese fans complained that they'd moved away from Transformers being robots in disguise. This is why, on the whole, the Japanese Beast Wars toylines tried to keep more within the robots in disguise idea. If you look at Beast Wars II the Maximals are beasts - not robotic beasts or fused beasts, but just beasts (with some exceptions like the Cyber Beasts of course). Yeah sure, a lot of them were imported Hasbro moulds (e.g. B'Boom as Apache, Powerpinch as Scissor Boy etc.), but the concept was still there. And of course, the Predacons were reasonably realistic vehicles (tank, fighter, dump truck, stealth fighter & bomber etc.) -- but it was really Beast Wars Neo that pumped out a lot of new moulds and returning to the original concept of just keeping the beast modes as relatively realistic looking animals and not making them cybernetic or fused ('cept for the Blentrons which were repainted Fuzors anyway), so for example we had woolly mammoth, ammonite, tanuki, giraffe, rabbit, dimetrodon, triceratops, stegosaurus, gigantosaurus, elasmosaurus, quetzacoatlus, horse, cobra, archaeopteryx, saw shark, pachycephalosaurus, penguin, ankylosaurus, styracosaurus etc. -- so damn COOL!! :D

 

And while Transmetals and Fuzors were kinda weird, their beast modes were at least still recognisable. e.g. you can see that TM Optimus Primal is a gorilla, Rampage is a crab, Silverbolt is an eagle/wolf... strange, but it works.

 

Beast Machines on the other hand went on the complete opposite tangent... the Maximals transformed from weird looking humanoids (are they meant to be robots??) into a ... a... what is that thing??! A gorilla? Well... maybe if I stare really hard and squint... oh yeah, I guess it kinda looks like a monkey... thing. Silverbolt transforms into a griffin, eh? What's that? It's a condor?! A... quadrapedal condor. Right.

Hotrod-facepalm-uk187.gifjaam_pain.gif

Let's face it, the ONLY reason you know it's a condor is because it says so on the packaging. If the packaging didn't tell you what the alt mode was, I doubt most people would've guessed condor (most people probably would've guessed griffin).

 

The Vehicons were pretty strange too - but really, it was just more of the "scifi" modes that we got in later G1. Only... without the "sci" cos some of those modes were rather impractical/impossible... there's no way Deluxe Jetstorm can fly in atmosphere (neither can the Armada Seekers for that matter). But at least you could tell what they were! Jetstorm was a jet - no doubt's there! The Maximals on the other hand... epic fail alt modes.

 

So to have gone from strange Vehicons and extremely ambiguous looking technorganic beast modes to licensed vehicles ... yeah, little wonder why Robots In Disguise did so well. :)

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Not all kids are like that. When I was a kid, good writing absolutely mattered to me.

 

I think you're the exception rather than the rule. :P

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When I started this topic I wanted people to give their opinion of a "new" branching of cast and story. NOT what caused G1 to peter out. So please... Back on topic or start your own topic....

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I'd also like to see a version of Transformers with an all-new cast of characters, with familiar faces guest-starring every now and then. The trick would be to make it work.

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Straight to DVD prequels would rock. Dark Ages of Cybertron. An expanded story of War Dawn that displays the subterfuge of Megatron and the corrupt politicians in the senate. Lots of Cybertron stories that could be told in straight to DVD cartoons.

 

Nova Prime, Sentinel Prime, any other prime would be cool to see. How about a straight to DVD Wreckers adventure? Omega Supremes origin and conflict with the constructicons? It would be sweet if they started to introduce some fresh, new robots while maintaining A storyline.

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I could handle a new set of characters. I could even handle an AEC spinoff that takes a more in depth look at life on one of the other planets inhabited by transforming robots (speed planet, ect...)

Cybertronians were supposed to have colonized many planets during the Golden Age. Let's see what happened on one of those, maybe one that lost touch with the rest of the Cybertronians and never new there was a civil war. Can you imagine a TF show with no Autobots or Decepticons? Maybe one where there are many tribes or only one dealing with inner conflict?

 

What about a series that focus's on jhiaxus's reign? They could even make the wreckers the autobot resistance.

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